BELGRADE – Serbian military personnel plan to hold the first ever protest over wage conditions on November 27, the Military Trade Union of Serbia said Thursday.

Union members plan to hold a street protest near the Defense Ministry to demand new employment contracts and higher wages, the union said in a published statement.

Union leadership claimed that over 80 percent of both service personnel and civilians employed by the ministry receive less than 67,600 Serbian dinars (some $590) per month, which is the country’s living wage.

The move has been condemned by Serbian Defense Minister Zoran Djordjevic, who stressed that military personnel do not have a right to strike under Serbian laws, adding that the ministry is committed to maintaining the standards of living of its employees. The union maintains that the planned protest is not a strike.

In 2015, the military union rejected claims by Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic that officers could earn as much as senior government staff, stating that a sub-lieutenant could earn up to $390 per month. Lower ranks reportedly earn less than $300 per month.